Published 25/03/2024 | 15:52

The ceiling mural of the Kadriorg Palace will be examined for the first time since its conservation in 2000

Indirect evidence has suggested that the large scale central ceiling mural in the main hall of Kadriorg Palace is the work of Johann Friedrich Londicer and that it was made in 1746. Photo: Stanislav Stepaško

On 26 March, the Kadriorg Art Museum and Estonian Academy of Arts will start a collaborative research project with the aim of checking the condition of the Kadriorg Palace ceiling mural, mapping its damage and doing extensive examinations.

The Kadriorg Art Museum opened as a museum for foreign art in 2000. This was preceded by the restoration of the whole palace, along with the conservation of the unique ceiling mural in its main hall. Unfortunately, the technical possibilities at that time were limited, which meant that many questions went unanswered, including the mural’s precise technique and its possible authorship.

In the main hall of the Kadriorg Palace is a large scale ceiling mural along with four smaller paintings on the sides. This is the most important ceiling mural painted on plaster in the first half of the 18th century in Estonia. Thus far, indirect evidence has suggested the authorship of Johann Friedrich Londicer and 1746 as the year of creation.

Besides checking its condition, the ceiling mural will go through art historical and technical research (XRF, pigment and binding agent), which will hopefully provide more precise information about the plafond. The mapping of the condition and research of the ceiling mural will be completed in collaboration with teachers and students of the Estonian Academy of Arts, along with prominent specialists from other institutions.

The work will take place on top of nine metres of scaffolding during the hours that the museum is open over the course of three days and everybody who is interested is welcome to observe the work. On every day of the research, thematic lectures will take place, bringing conservation and art history closer to the general public and explaining the importance and opportunities of these professions. The results of the research and the conclusions of the scientists will be introduced at a later date.

The project is being managed by Eva Tammekivi (Art Museum of Estonia) and Varje Õunapuu (Estonian Academy of Arts), with the support of Aleksandra Murre (Art Museum of Estonia) and Hilkka Hiiop (Estonian Academy of Arts).

Schedule of public lecture (in Estonian)

26 March at 5 p.m.
Aleksandra Murre: “The art historical background and iconography of the plafond paintings in Kadriorg Palace”

27 March at 5 p.m.
Hilkka Hiiop: “Estonian plafond paintings and their discovery in the Estonian Knighthood House”

28 March at 2 p.m.
Triin Kröönström and Hannes Vinnal: “The story of the Kadriorg ceiling mural based on archival sources and the changes in the use of artistic materials in the 18th century” (followed by a discussion)